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Culture Change

Updated: Dec 31, 2018

E. B. Tylor defined culture as, "that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society."

It helps to understand the culture in which you function. The beliefs, values, and principles within an organization are strong forces that influence what and how things are done.   “That’s the way we do things around here.” An organization’s culture encompasses the values and behaviors that determine how team members interact. Often, an organization’s culture is incidental, not specifically stated. Culture is at work in everything you do.  The force of culture may be disguised but can still be controlling. Culture is comparable to Truth.  Truth is always present. Versions of the Truth may vary with individuals. You may believe it or not, but it is there. 

Culture is a learned behavior. When one stays with an organization for a while they usually adapt, at least partially, to the surroundings of that culture. Pay attention to the attributes of the organization’s culture and evaluate the degree of comfort you have functioning within that culture.  You have at least four choices.

  • You can accept the culture and learn to function effectively within it. You may or not be happy.

  • You can fight the culture. This is rarely a satisfying option for either party.

  • You can work to modify the culture by promoting and exhibiting alternate attitudes and behaviors. This takes fortitude. (It's also my personal favorite.)

  • You can leave. If your livelihood is dependent on this organization, advanced planning will be helpful.

Change is inevitable. Past traditions should be valued and, in certain cases, preserved. However, you should also be willing to embrace new traditions when the circumstances call for it. In our interconnected world with diverse civilizations, you are bound to experience conflicts due to cultural differences. How well you lead in this changing environment will depend on your ability to stay true to your core values while leaving room to adapt to others.

Want more information on change? Check out Jarry Durants " Change with a silent "T"

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